My son was a premie with a family history of asthma and as a little one had wheezing episodes throughout his life.  We were very experienced with asthma attacks and had all the medicines and equipment at home. My son had always eaten natural, homecooked foods as we just tend to not be junk food people. Just before Christmas when he was 19 months old I had commercially prepared eggnog in the house and gave him a tiny glass as a treat. Within 15 minutes he went into the most severe asthma attack we had ever seen. We gave him his medication and used his nebulizer, but he was not coming around.  He had had a number of asthma attacks and this was nothing like it.

Our pediatrician had us rush him to the hospital. He was given immediate care - very unusual in US hospitals. The doctors didn't really know what to do. They gave us megadoses of all his medicines, put him on pure oxygen, put IV's in him but he didn't come around. They called Children's Hospital who sent down a team of 4. Our pediarician stayed with us for hours and his daughter was due in at the airport, so we knew it was serious. The doctors from Childrens ended up using Atrovent, a medicine at that time used only for adults. Our hospital didn't even know to use it on children. Ryan came around but it was very dicey.

After Ryan got out of the hospital I looked up asthma and found a British book that mentioned major chemical triggers for asthma including tartrazine a yellow food dye. So I had an idea that it might have been the cause. I then met with a specialist who felt that I was probably right, but there was no test because it was not a true allergy, but that I should avoid it because the next time we may not be so lucky. He said that often it is subsequent exposures that are more serious. Ryan did bite an Andes mint about a year later and once put a green M&M in his mouth and then rapidly removed it.  Both times he had microscopic amounts of the candy and both times had very dramatic reactions. So we avoid it very seriously. – Heather, USA